Leonardo Da Vinci’s Death Anniversary Leading To Diplomatic Tensions

In 2019 we celebrate 500 years after Leonardo Da Vinci’s death with many events. However, Italy is not happy

In 2019 we celebrate 500 years since Leonardo Da Vinci’s death. Foreseeing the exact anniversary date, May 9, many events are being organized in Italy to commemorate the legacy of the living definition of a Renaissance Man.

An extraordinary man, Leonardo Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 and died May 2, 1519. A painter, writer, researcher, architect, and so much more, he was passionate about the laws of science and nature, and obviously about art, although to his name exist only two dozen paintings. A small number compared to other artists from Da Vinci’s time. He was admired for his talent which led to his frequent travels to France: it was Francis I who awarded Leonardo with a place to stay out of Italy in the last part of his life, where he died.

Leonardo in Italy

Vinci, Leonardo’s hometown in Tuscany, will host Paesaggio (translated “Landscape”) his first piece of art. In Milan, from May 2019 to January 2020, Leonardo will be honored with a series of events open to the public, especially at the Castello Sforzesco, where an exhibition will re-visit the entire creative process of the artist from the original sketches to their pictorial reproductions. Florence, for the exhibition “Leonardo 2019”, hosted until January the Codice Leicester, currently owned by Bill Gates, who purchased this piece in 1994 and donated it temporarily to the outstanding museum, the Uffizi Gallery. From March to June 2019, instead, Palazzo Vecchio will display Leonardo e Firenze, a selection of works and studies carried out by the Tuscan genius during his period in the Florence. Last but not least, Turin will present Leonardo’s famous self-portrait in an exhibition called “Leonardo Da Vinci. Disegnare il futuro” (Leonardo Da Vinci. Drawing the future).

Diplomatic disputes between Italy and France

Italy, however, is not happy. Leonardo’s death anniversary has led France and Italy to dispute over his art and the celebrations. Leonardo’s time abroad meant that many of his art works are located in France, as the iconic Mona Lisa currently staying at The Louvre in Paris.

Lucia Borgonzoni, an Italian League MP and undersecretary at the Ministry of Culture, suggested that Italy should cancel the loan with France of some key paintings and drawings stating that she felt France was trying to push “…Italy on the margin” in matter of celebrating Leonardo’s death. “Leonardo is Italian; he only died in France.” This has lead The Louvre to close for the summer in order to allow Italy to obtain full attention and the primary spotlight. In return, it seems that the French museum has requested to rent some of other Leonardo’s works currently staying in Italy as the Vitruvian Man, now exhibited in Venice.

French Minister of Culture, Frank Riester, has agreed to “peaceful talks” with his Italian counterpart, Alberto Bonisoli, who seems to be on a much peaceful foot than the undersecretary, declaring that his current concern lies in some unclear points in the original loan deal, that he is open to clarify and find a common ground with France. Meanwhile, the French President has intervened by silencing criticism and highlighting that he wished to avoid conflict that can wrongly impact the importance of art and culture.

One can comprehend why these countries are in conflict over Leonardo Da Vinci’s art with breath taking pieces. Furthermore, Da Vinci was also ahead of his times. For instance, he was vegetarian and was known to free birds destined into cages.